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Georgia Tech awarded a $20M Center for Chemical Innovation from NSF and NASA
Date:8/2/2010

will work backward from the complex substances found in living organisms today, such as proteins and DNA, and make materials that are a little bit different and simpler in chemical structure," explained Hud. "We will then strive to determine if there were possibly chemicals and conditions on the early Earth that would have given rise to these and similar substances."

In addition, the researchers will translate technological developments into commercially viable products. Facundo Fernandez, an associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is leading the Center's commercialization efforts.

For the first research theme, which is being led by Georgia Tech chemistry professor Thomas Orlando, creating a model inventory of the chemicals present on the early Earth will require the development of new tools and approaches for analyzing and sorting complex mixtures.

"Complex mixtures are found in many chemical industries -- including petroleum, food and pharmaceuticals," said Fernandez. "The instruments and protocols we develop to sort through the complex mixtures that result from model prebiotic chemical reactions are going to be valuable to these industries too."

Charles Liotta, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is leading the second research theme, which involves exploring alternative media that could have facilitated the assembly of complex substances in the prebiotic world. This research could produce environmentally-friendly procedures leading to new chemical processes, according to the team.

In the third research theme, led by David Lynn, chair of the Department of Chemistry at Emory University, and Ram Krishnamurthy, an associate professor of chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute, methods will be developed to create polymers and assemblies that mimic natural macromolecules, such as DNA and proteins. The resulting methods could be used as a pla
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Contact: Abby Vogel Robinson
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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